Difference Between .DOC vs .DOCX – Which is the Better Option?

Affiliate Disclaimer: If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you!
Photo of author



Both .DOC and .DOCX files are used commonly with word file formats. You may already know that Microsoft creates this file format.

And both of these formats are compatible with pretty much all the Word processing software in use today. In this article, we intend to compare .DOC vs .DOCX, giving you an insight into both formats.

What is DOCX, and What is DOC?

In DOCX, the letter X is there to signify the term XML. Compared to DOC, DOCX is a newer and upgraded version. In addition to that, DOCX files are lighter and smaller compared to DOC files. DOCX files can retain all the advanced features and new formatting options that are created by third-party software.

Both DOC and DOCX files are very common, and they are among the widely used file formats. Perhaps, DOC and DOCX formats can be as popular as PDF file formats among users. If you have already dealt with a large number of documents, this can be understood easily.

Both of these files are extensions used by Microsoft Word DOCuments. If you have used these file formats, you know that these files can store complex content other than text. For instance, both of these file formats can store images, charts, tables, text formatting, shapes, hyperlinks, etc.

Well, why should you ever compare DOC vs. DOCX? Is there a difference between these two file formats? The purpose of this article, as we have mentioned before, is to explain this stuff. We will compare both of these formats and find out if they have any differences. Also, you should remember that none of these file formats are linked to DOC or ADOC formats.

PS: click here to find out how to recover unsaved Word documents, and how to unlock Word documents online.

.DOC vs. .DOCX – what makes the difference?

Microsoft Word is a norm when it comes to word processing. For a very long time, Microsoft Word has used DOC to be the default file type. As a matter of fact, the DOC format has been available since the introduction of Microsoft Word for MS-DOS. Up to 2006, Word was a propriety file format.

That is when Microsoft opened DOC specifications. However, in the course of time, DOC specifications underwent some updates. These updates were released for other DOCument processors as well as a result of the timely updates of DOC.

Since it has become a norm, many of the DOCument processors (both paid and free options) interlace with DOC. As a result, programs such as LibreOffice Writer, Kingsoft Writer, OpenOffice, etc., recognize DOC as a standard file format.

That means you can use any of those programs to open a DOC file without any compatibility issues. Apart from opening, you can even edit those files. In addition to that, Google Docs (which is a cloud-based word processor) accept DOC files too. You can open and edit a DOC file even inside Google DOCs.

When it comes to DOCX is too developed by the same company (Microsoft). However, it was developed as a successor to the file format DOC. As a result of the major update that took place with the Word 2007 version, Word’s default file extensions were changed.

That means, since Word 2007, the default file format of Word is DOCX, not DOC. When you save a document using Word 2007 or newer, it will be saved in DOCX format. However, if it is necessary, you can simply save your file in a different format. This change took place because there was intense competition among Word processors such as Open Office.

.DOC vs. .DOCX – what makes the difference

When it comes to the mechanism, the coding work related to DOCX is created in XML. That is exactly why they have included an additional ‘X‘ into their old DOC format. As a result of these new coding, DOCX files are compatible with many advanced features in contrary to DOC.

We should say that DOCX is a result of the standards demanded by the industry for compatibility. This specific file format delivers various efficiencies for the users.

For instance, the file size of DOCX is much lighter compared to DOC, even with graphical content. In addition to Word, this XML integration is applied to other Office files like PPT and XLS. They now appear as PPTX and XLSX.

How to convert a DOC file into DOCX?

Converting a DOC file into DOCX is not rocket science. In fact, you can use any word processing software (which can open DOC files) to get this done easily.

That means you can use any DOCument processor to convert DOC to DOCX files. Likewise, the exact opposite also can be done. That means you can convert a DOCX file into DOC using the same word processing software.

You’ll have to convert a DOCX file into DOC format, particularly when you use an older Word version. For instance, if you are using Word 2003 or an older version, you will have to convert DOCX into DOC. Although this is not a very regular case, it is handy for you to know such a trick.

To get this done, however, you should open the respective DOCX file in Word 2007 or a newer version. If not, you can use any other program other than Microsoft Word. Then, you should save the same file with the DOC extension.

However, Microsoft has realized the potential difficulties users might face with these compatibility issues. As a result, they have offered a compatibility pack. If you install this pack, you can open DOCX files even if you have an older version of Word. This is a handy option, especially for those who don’t want to leave their favorite old programs.

In addition to that, there are plenty of other tools, such as Google Docs and LibreOffice Writer. These tools can easily convert DOC files into DOCX files.

There are also instances when you need to convert a DOC file into some other format other than DOCX. For instance, you may want to convert a DOC file to PDF, TXT, or RTF.

Luckily, you don’t have to use any special tool to get such a task done. Instead, you can use Microsoft Word, Google DOC, LibreOffice, etc., and get the conversion done.

convert a DOC file into DOCX

Which option wins in this DOC vs. DOCX comparison?

As a matter of fact, there is not much of trouble over choosing between DOC and DOCX. The issue is not that severe. Both of these formats are compatible with all the word-processing software tools in the industry.

In fact, they are compatible even with cloud-based tools like Google DOC. So, when it comes to the compatibility aspect, you don’t have to worry much about choosing one option. You can open DOC and DOCX files in any of these programs and start editing.

Apart from compatibility, there are other aspects to consider when comparing two file formats. For instance, the file size is a vital aspect. When you consider file size, DOCX is better than DOC. We say it is ‘better‘ because DOCX files are smaller and lighter compared to DOC files. Transferring and reading of DOCX files are easier on a computer as opposed to DOC files.

DOC vs. DOCX file size comparison

Since the DOCX files are based on the standard called Office Open XML, it supports all word processing software. All the advanced features included in the DOCX files can be viewed, edited, and preserved using any word processor.

In general, most of the software programs have started to drop the option of saving DOCuments to DOC extension. This is a clear indication of the advancements of the Word processing world.


Q: Can I convert .DOC files to .DOCX?

A: Yes, Microsoft Word provides a built-in conversion feature to convert .DOC files to .DOCX format. You can simply open a .DOC file and choose the “Save As” option, selecting the .DOCX format.

Q: Are .DOCX files compatible with other word processing software?

A: .DOCX files are compatible with various word processing software, including open-source alternatives like LibreOffice and Google Docs. However, formatting compatibility may vary across different software.

Q: Do .DOCX files offer better security features compared to .DOC?

A: Yes, .DOCX files provide enhanced security features, such as password protection and restricted editing permissions. These features allow you to safeguard your documents and control access to sensitive information.

Q: Can I open .DOC files in Microsoft Word if I have .DOCX installed?

A: Yes, Microsoft Word supports both .DOC and .DOCX formats. You can open and edit .DOC files using Microsoft Word, regardless of whether .DOCX is installed on your system.

Q: Are .DOCX files more prone to corruption compared to .DOC?

A: .DOCX files have improved data recovery options compared to .DOC files. In the event of a corruption issue, .DOCX files offer better chances of recovering data due to their XML-based structure and built-in recovery features.

Bottom Line

With this article, you might have learned a lot about what DOCX is and what DOC is. In fact, DOCX is the advanced version of a DOC file. Or, you can even call it a newer version of DOC. Because of the integration of the technology called ‘XML,’ the DOCX file extension has got its ‘X‘ letter.

As a result of this integration, DOCX files can retain advanced formatting options and effects created by other software. For instance, it can preserve edits done by third-party tools. Also, the DOCX format does save files with lighter weight. That means DOCX files are lighter compared to their ancestor, DOC, even with more complex content types.

If you are to choose between DOC and DOCX, go for DOCX. That is because DOCX files are compatible with pretty much all Word processing software. Even cloud-based software like Google DOCs supports DOCX format.

Gradually, DOCX file format has become a norm in the industry, just like PDF (Portable Document Format). Modern-day word-processing software packages are slowly getting rid of the DOC format. That means many of these tools don’t allow you to save documents in DOC format anymore. Instead, they use DOCX.

However, this doesn’t mean that DOC is completely dead. It is still supported by many software tools. Once again, if you are to choose between the two, go for DOCX. If you find this DOC vs. DOCX comparison to be useful, please leave us a comment below. Thank you!


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.

More Articles

Davinci Resolve Vs Premiere Pro
Apps, Comparisons

DaVinci Resolve vs. Premiere Pro – Full Comparison in 2024

In this article, we intend to compare Davinci Resolve vs. Premiere Pro. With this information, we intend to provide an ...
iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro
Comparisons, Multimedia

iMovie vs. Final Cut Pro

As you know, there are lots of editing tools on the internet. Most users look for a perfect tool to ...
Raid 10 vs. Raid 5

Raid 10 vs. Raid 5: Which Data Storage Solution Should You Choose?

Confused about Raid 10 vs. Raid 5? Read this SEO-friendly article to know the differences, benefits & choose the right solution for your data storage needs.